Jeremy Corbyn: Media to blame for Labour poll woes

Posted On: 
20th February 2017

Jeremy Corbyn has blamed the media for Labour's consistently bad opinion poll ratings.

Jeremy Corbyn told Labour MPs the media was to blame for the party's poor poll numbers.
PA Images

The Labour leader said his party was more successful at getting its message across on social media sites instead.

His comments came after a new poll put the Conservatives an incredible 18 points clear of their rivals.

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Mr Corbyn was confronted about the grim figures at a meeting of the parliamentary Labour party tonight.

Former Shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie, who asked if the leader "had any comprehension" of what they meant for Labour's election chances.

Mr Corbyn replied: "Of course I understand what's going on and the problems we have had in the media.

"We need to get a strong, positive message across and we do that better on social media."

Speaking after the hour-long meeting, a source close to the Labour leader said the party was still suffering the after-effects of last year's failed leadership coup.

"There's concern in the Labour party at the opinion polls and has been for several months, said the source. "That's been the case since the leadership challenge last summer, when Labour was - in the last round of local elections in May - ahead of the Tories by one point.

"After the leadership challenge and the dissension in the Labour party, that fell back and obviously since the change of Tory leadership, the Tories have been in a stronger position. But we're confident that won't continue, that Labour's position will improve in the polls and the Tories will fall back.

"Labour dropped back as a result of the internal dissension in the party and the leadership contest, and the Tories picked up at the time Theresa May became Prime Minister and she's had something of a honeymoon. I don't think that's going to last.

"As soon as the Government's position goes to Brussels, it will be confronted by the reality of 27 countries briefing against it, the internal dissension in the Tory Party will be exacerbated. For all those reasons, the kind of gap you're looking at at the moment would close."

He also said "the leadership question was settled" and dismissed suggestions that Mr Corbyn had discussed a departure date with his close allies.

Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn also told the PLP meeting that this week's by-elections in Stoke and Copeland are "on a knife-edge" and called on MPs to do all they could to support both campaigns.